My first impression of this poem was that the author is celebrating her birthday with the love of her life.  It made me feel appreciative, yet, at the same time, miserable. A line that especially evokes my appreciation is, “Because my love is come to me.”  But hurt arises when I read the line, “Because the birthday of my life”. Perhaps because I appreciate everyone in life but at the same time I’m miserable because the birthday of my life ended.

What I know about the situation – what’s happening in the poem – is that the author felt excited about her love. What I know about the speaker is that they are the kind of person who gets eager for something to happen quickly. This is suggested by the line “My heart is gladder than all these”.   The speaker seems to be speaking to the reader, and perhaps to share her feelings from her eagerness.  I say this because she didn’t specifically say who she was talking to. The poem doesn’t seem to spring from a particular historical moment or culture Christianity, etc.  The poem revolves around several themes, including joy and love.

If this poem were a question, the answer would be “yes”.  If it were an answer, question would be “Is the author excited about her love?”  The title suggests the author was celebrating her birthday and her love came as a gift and was celebrating with her.    

The poem’s form is a narrative. This form is a vehicle for the content of the poem.  If the poem were an epic, it would not guide me toward an understanding of the poem’s meaning. The the form actually shapes the meaning that I make of the poem by describing how the author feels.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Close Reading of “A Birthday” by Christina Rossetti by Ashley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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